AFL star turned ABC presenter Tony Armstrong reveals he knows JUST how Demons who were sledged about missing grand finals felt before Steven May was punched
- Armstrong was an emergency in the Sydney Swans 2012 premiership win
- He said he would’ve been ‘cut’ if he received a sledge like Demons players have
- Demons premiership winner Steven May reportedly taunted his teammates
- Armstrong said it is not fair game to sledge a player who misses a grand final
In the wake of Melbourne Demons premiership player Steven May taunting a teammate for missing last year’s grand final win, former AFL player-turned-presenter Tony Armstrong has revealed he would be ‘cut’ if he’d been on the end of the sledge.
May allegedly verbally abused a number of teammates during a booze-fuelled gathering at a swanky Melbourne restaurant, including sledges directed at Joel Smith and Jake Melksham for missing out on the 2021 grand final triumph.
It highlighted the divisions clubs face between ‘the haves and have nots’ after a premiership win – a rift that appears to be very wide at Melbourne.
Armstrong, who played 35 AFL games across a career with Adelaide, Collingwood and Sydney, was an emergency for the Swans in their grand final victory in 2012 and said he knew exactly how Melksham and Smith would have felt.
‘Had that (sledge) been said to me, I’m a chicken, so I wouldn’t have taken anyone on; but that would cut me, that would actually hurt,’ he said on the ABC.
‘Have a go at me for anything, have a go at me for my haircut, my dress sense, my choices; but that’s [the grand final win] something that you’ve tried your heart out for.
‘You’ve laid it all on the line and if you miss out, it’s cause you’ve come up short and you can’t have a go at someone for trying their best,’ said Armstrong.
Tony Armstrong training for the Swans during grand final week in 2012
The skillful small defender played eight games for the Swans in their 2012 premiership year, of which the team won six.
Unfortunately he didn’t make the final 22 on the day, and Armstrong said only the chosen few got to celebrate the win.
Armstrong also played AFL for Collingwood before he was delisted
‘I did the warm up on grand final day, missed out, the boys went on the win, and good on ’em,’ he said.
‘As an example, they had the premiership reunion … and I wasn’t invited. Only Ben McGlynn, who didn’t play, was invited because he played all year then did his hamstring.’
Steven May celebrating with fans after winning the premiership last year
Smith, who has been plagued by injuries during his 26-game career, devastatingly missed out on playing in Melbourne’s win after a hamstring suffered just before grand final week.
May also reported told Smith organising the dinner, where the sledges occurred, ‘it was the best thing he’d done all year’, referencing the fact Smith has missed a significant chunk of games.
Demons defender Joel Smith was one of the players reportedly sledged by May
Jake Melksham (centre) stood up for Smith, resulting in a fight with May
It followed a turbulent period for the reigning premiers which included their first two losses for the season, boardroom stoushes, question marks over coach Simon Goodwin’s behaviour and Christian Petracca getting stuck into his own fans.
Post-AFL Tony Armstrong is now a successful TV presenter and commentator
Now every player who missed out on a grand final win for their club will be wondering, ‘Is that what every premiership player was saying behind my back?’